Hometown Heroes

Escape from Bataan

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97-year-old Cipriano Guinto of Bakersfield, CA appears on episode #494 of Hometown Heroes, airing October 20-22, 2017. A native of Macabebe on the island of Luzon, Guinto enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17 in 1938, and served with the 57th Infantry Regiment, Philippine Scouts.

Dr. Guinto is one of more than 260,000 Filipinos to fight for the U.S. during World War II, a group set to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

Of the more 260,000 Filipinos who served in American forces during World War II, he is one of roughly 15,000 alive today. On October 25, 2017, Filipino veterans of WWII will be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal. If you know a veteran who should receive the medal, follow the instructions here from the Filipino Veterans Recognition and Education Project. Guinto’s father had been one of the original Philippine Scouts, fighting for the U.S. during the Spanish-American War at the end of the 19th Century. Cipriano used his musical talents in the 57th Infantry, playing his trumpet in the regimental band, and even performing on the lyre as he marched behind the drum major in annual 4th of July parades. He had been in the Army for nearly four years when war came to his homeland. On December 8, 1942, the Japanese invaded the Philippines. Cipriano, an infantryman armed with a World War I-era Springfield rifle, encountered the enemy on the eastern edge of Luzon. Over the months that followed, as U.S. forces were being pushed back toward the Bataan Peninsula, Guinto was pressed into duty as a litter-bearer, carrying wounded soldiers to makeshift aid stations. But as you’ll hear on Hometown Heroes, the worst was yet to come…

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